1. Try This Easy Trick to Improve Your Reputation at Work

    How many times have you heard the phrase “You are what you eat”? The idea behind this now-infamous diet mantra is that in order to be fit and healthy, you have to eat nutritious food. The take-home message? Your actions have direct ramifications for your body and your mind.

    Now, consider this spin: “You are what you say.” Fair or not, what you communicate to others can lead others to make assumptions about your character–a concept called spontaneous trait inference.

    This psychological phenomenon holds that people are perceived as possessing traits they describe in others. Several experiments have shown that people can associate traits with others mindlessly without logical rationale.

    Think of it this way: the more you talk about a certain trait– even if you’re describing another person and not yourself–the more salient and memorable that trait becomes in the other person’s mind. Through an associative process in the brain, they start to think of you coupled with that trait (kind of like when you hear “zebra,” you may think “stripes”).

    Spontaneous trait inference is crucial to keep in mind at the office for the sake of both your current job and your career prospects. Here’s how to use this concept to boost your reputation, influence and become exceptionally more likable in the process:

    No Gossip – No Exceptions

    As if you needed another reason to keep the chitchat in check, spontaneous trait inference means that every time you share something negative about someone, the person you’re blathering to might start thinking of you as the one characterized by that trait.

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  2. 3 Ways to Outsmart Imposter Syndrome

    Tell me if you can relate to any of the following:

    • You feel like you’re not qualified for your job or cut out for the work you do.
    • You’re uncomfortable when praised for your success, because you feel like you haven’t earned it.
    • You fear you’ll be “found out” and exposed for the fraud you are.

    If these sound like thoughts that run through your head, you may be experiencing something called Impostor Syndrome.

    And you wouldn’t be alone: over 70% of people report experiencing Impostor Syndrome at some point in their career.

    Impostor Syndrome refers to the inability to internalize success — when people have a persistent belief that they are unintelligent or incompetent.

    It manifests in feelings that you’re a fake who will be exposed as incapable or ill-equipped, despite plenty of evidence to prove you’re skilled and competent.

    So called “impostors” habitually attribute their accomplishments to luck, chance, connections, charm, or other external factors.

    How Impostor Syndrome Holds You Back

    A core negative belief that you are inadequate and unworthy can greatly damage your professional growth.

    Because you fear being exposed as an Impostor, you may do things to avoid embarrassment and humiliation. For example, you may procrastinate and never finish a project to avoid the shame of criticism.

    Impostor Syndrome can also turn you into a productivity addict, which is just a convenient ploy to keep yourself addicted to the validation of working hard.

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  3. The Reason You’re Addicted to Your Phone, According to Psychology

    Have you ever noticed that no one looks up while crossing the street anymore? Most people are too busy responding to text messages or scrolling through social media to pay attention to their surroundings.

    Truth be told, I’m guilty of this myself. But nevertheless, it defies all logic. Why do we risk our safety to check if someone liked our latest Facebook update? Can’t it wait for later, say, maybe when you’re not near oncoming traffic?

    It’s a fact of modern-day life: we can’t live without our devices. In fact, a recent Gallup poll revealed that the average adults checks their smartphone hourly, if not every few minutes. Americans’ attachment to their phones is so strong that 63 percent of people actually sleep with their phone right next to them.

    While technology has tremendous upsides, it becomes a problem if you use it to procrastinatenumb out, or run from problems.

    Changing your digital habits starts with understanding how technology changes your brain and behavior.

    The Psychology of Smartphone Obsession

    It’s no secret that technology has the ability to hook us with endless opportunities to play, learn and connect. But why do we go too far? Why do we spend hours starring at our phones, browsing social media or answering emails?

    It comes down to understanding operant conditioning, which describes how our behavior is shaped by consequences. What we do depends on the rewards or punishments associated with an action.

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  4. How to Be Mindful When You’re Anxious

    The world really wants us to count our blessings. News articles and blog posts tout the many benefits of gratitude, from improved health to better sleep and happier moods. Entrepreneurs and business behemoths like Oprah Winfrey swear by gratitude journals as a solution to stress and the secret to their success. Celebrities and Instagram influencers alike anoint their social media posts with the hashtag #blessed.

    But practicing gratitude doesn’t come naturally to everyone—myself included. For one thing, the thought of keeping a gratitude journal can sound like a chore, another to-do item in my already Type A lifestyle.

    Even worse is the feeling of being bad at gratitude, when we’re too grumpy or anxious or sad to focus on the good in our lives. I hear the same thing from clients and friends, many of whom are caught in the self-defeating cycle of thinking, How can I fail at something so simple as being grateful?

    If you’re someone who cringes at the thought of keeping a gratitude journal, it doesn’t mean you’re a jerk who takes good things for granted. Gratitude practices are not one-size-fits-all, and trying to box yourself into a system that feels forced will lead you to feel worse, not better. Instead, you may need a more pragmatic practice—and to get creative about self-reflection so it better serves your personal style.

    Why practicing gratitude can be a challenge

    Gratitude can be especially hard when things get tough.

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  5. How Highly Successful People Handle Self-Doubt

    Think about the last time you felt fear and anxiety take control of your day. Maybe it stopped you from speaking up in a meeting because you felt like your opinion wasn’t worthwhile. Perhaps a simple email took you hours to write because your inner critic kept telling you it wasn’t good enough–that you weren’t good enough.

    Many high-achievers struggle with thoughts that they are a fraud and that they are incompetent, despite a track record of accomplishments. This psychological phenomenon, known as Impostor Syndrome, can show up in many areas of our lives including at work in the form of:

    • Downplaying promotions
    • Declining new responsibilities
    • Assuming you’re not qualified enough for your job

    While no one is immune from self-doubt, it actually impacts high-achievers the most and in my experience, this battle with the inner critic is one many successful people share – yet one we don’t often talk about it.

    The Truth About Self-Doubt

    Fear of failure is a universal human emotion, experienced by some of the world’s most successful people

    Maya Angelou once admitted:

    “I have written eleven books, but each time I think, “Uh-oh, they’re going to find out now. I’ve run a game on everybody, and they’re going to find me out.”

    Leaders from virtually every industry have spoken about feeling undeserving of success, including Neil Gaiman, Sheryl Sandberg, Emma Watson, and even Albert Einstein.

    So if you are dealing with Impostor Syndrome, know that you are not alone.

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  6. The Secret To Building Self-Confidence Is The Opposite of What You’ve Been Told

    What would you guess people are most stressed out about in their careers?

    One might assume that hating your job, or dealing with the frustration of finding a new one, would top the list. But according to the results of an annual survey that I send several thousand readers of my email newsletter, the most common problem people face is that they don’t feel confident.

    Readers said things like:

    I want to start a business, but I fear looking foolish.

    I feel I shouldn’t have been picked for the role I am in. I feel like a sham.

    I doubt myself and find it hard to ask for what I want.

    These responses are from smart, accomplished individuals. Most of them have advanced degrees. Some of them have earned high-ranking leadership positions at Fortune 500 companies that are household names. Why are they questioning their competence?

    Unfortunately, confidence is an elusive goal for many people. And that’s because we fundamentally misunderstand the way it works. We tend to think confidence is a personality trait, and treat it as a pre-requisite for action. So we put off signing up for a dating site because we feel insecure about our looks, or neglect to apply for jobs because we worry that we won’t be competitive. But the truth is that confidence isn’t an innate trait; it’s a quality gained through experience. So we should take risks in order to build confidence—not the other way around.

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